The pandemic has taken a serious toll on our lives since it first happened. Now is the best time to take a break from stress and relax by reconnecting with nature again, especially if you love to take adventures and see different sights as often as possible. All across the country, there are states offering lots of unique and breathtaking places to go to, and one of them that could fit into your bucket list might be Florida.
Known by the whole world as the “Sunshine State” of the United States, Florida and its beach resorts, sunny climate, recreational opportunities, and amusement parks are what make it a dream destination for many tourists and also adventurers. If you want to reconnect with nature in either rough or luxurious ways, this state sure has what you want in store.
1. Everglades National Park
|Everglades National Park|
|Things to do||Hiking, Camping, Canoeing, Kayaking, Biking, Fishing|
|Animals to see||Alligator, Coral snake, Peacock, Florida panther|
What could be better than camping out in this 1.5-million-acre of vast wildlife, lush ecosystems, and accessible campgrounds? The Everglades National Park is perfect if you want to witness extraordinary wildlife and have a recreational experience. The park’s subtropical and tropical habitats are home to 40 mammals, 350 species of birds, 300 species of fish, 50 species of reptiles, 39 species of threatened animals, and 164 species of plants.
You’d never miss out on the recreational activities that you’d get to try once you stepped into this majestic national park. You can try biking, kayaking, boating, canoeing, hiking, fishing, and bird watching. Camping is a must-try here for visitors as the park offers both front-country camping, established in a designated campground, and wilderness camping, which allows visitors to camp out in the wild to enjoy the beauty of nature. Front-country camping has campgrounds that offer picnic tables, showers, grills, restrooms, tents, and drinking water.
As mentioned earlier, wildlife is prevalent here at the Everglades National Park. Take one of its boating tours, and you might have a chance to see a glimpse of its wildlife with animals such as the alligator, coral snake, peacock, Florida panther, fox, eagle, egret, skunk, turtle, turkey vulture, alligator gar, white-tailed deer, and West Indian manatee.
2. Ocala National Forest
|Ocala National Forest|
|Things to do||Camping, Biking, Swimming, Horseback riding,|
|Animals to see||Coyote, White-tailed deer, Squirrel, Bat|
The Ocala National Forest is also a hard-to-beat contender for Florida’s top camping location. The wide 387,000-acre size of this area is filled with dozens of campgrounds, tons of places to spot wildlife, and cool springs to swim in. If you just want to go on a spring-hopping adventure or camp out here and relax, this place has much more to offer with other recreational activities. You can camp, bike, swim in its springs, fish, bird watch, or go horseback riding and explore more of the lush forest.
Are you a wildlife enthusiast? This place is also a perfect spot for you. The diverse ecosystems in the Ocala National Forest are home to many species of animals. On each day of your camping trip here, you might get a chance to spot a black bear or the gentle giants, which are manatees. You can also spot other exciting animals such as coyotes, white-tailed deer, squirrels, bats, raccoons, river otters, skunks, armadillos, gopher tortoises, and even bobcats.
3. Myakka River State Park
|Myakka River State Park|
|Things to do||Paddling, Fishing, Wildlife viewing, Camping, Bird watching, Hiking|
|Animals to see||Ibis, Vulture, Bald eagle, Turkey|
Built in the 1930s to help employ young men during the Great Depression, the Myakka River State Park is one of the oldest and largest state parks in Florida. It centers around its namesake river, which flows through a vast area of wetlands, pinelands, and prairies—making it a perfect spot for those who want to go canoeing, kayaking, boating, and fishing.
Despite the majority of wetlands in this park, there are also dry lands with miles of trails for hikers, cyclists, and campers. Camping isn’t a problem here, as the park’s six campgrounds are accessible for visitors who want to relax and see lots of palm trees and live oaks around them.
Wildlife enthusiasts might love to visit here at the Myakka River State Park. Aside from the over 100 animal species currently residing here, you can just bike, hike, or boat to see a diverse set of ecosystems hosting different fascinating wildlife. As soon as you go around on a bike, hiking, or in a boat, you might witness other animals such as ibises, vultures, bald eagles, turkeys, otters, armadillos, bobcats, and spoonbills.
4. Biscayne National Park
|Biscayne National Park|
|Things to do||Fishing, Boating, Diving, Snorkeling, Paddling, Camping, Hiking, Wildlife viewing|
|Animals to see||Peregrine falcon, Sperm whale, Opossum, Brown pelican|
Want to experience a totally different Miami other than the usual luxury and nightlife? Then head to Biscayne National Park for a different view of the Magic City. This fascinating park is only accessible by boat because it is located on the islands of Elliot Key and Boca Chita Key. This is also not your average national park, as more than 90% of it is underwater to preserve the coastal barrier reefs of South Florida. Fishing, boating, diving, snorkeling, paddling, camping, hiking, and wildlife viewing are among the recreational activities available in this place’s stunning and expansive waters.
When speaking of wildlife, the Biscayne National Park is also one of the must-go places for wildlife enthusiasts, especially those who are easily fascinated by different fish species. This park serves as a habitat for more than 600 native species of fish, neo-tropical water birds, and endangered species consisting of manatees, sea turtles, and the Schaus’ swallowtail butterfly that is yet to be protected to avoid population decline. Other animals found within the park are peregrine falcons, sperm whales, opossums, brown pelicans, tree frogs, kestrels, river otters, skunks, and rabbits.
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